Friday, July 01, 2005

Desperately Seeking Diane (Part 2)

Today was my last day on the 19th floor. Turns out Mary Martha didn’t have SARS after all -- she’s just been on vacation.

Just as well that I won’t be back on 19 because I had to abandon my illicit computer hook-up. One of the older-looking associates stopped by on his way to the elevator this morning and asked me to email a quick message for him since he didn’t have his Blackberry. I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t have a computer login. He looked at me incredulously. I pointed to my black computer screen. "But I thought I saw you using the computer earlier…" he protested. I figured I might get Tina in trouble if I revealed that she occasionally logs me in, so I just shrugged and shook my head. Hopefully he walked away thinking that he was mistaken, not that I was an idiot.

So I had to spend the rest of the day amusing myself the old-fashioned way, with my head in a book (no napping today -- I’d had my coffee chocolate in the morning).

I was deep in the angst of a teenage prep schooler when Diane suddenly emerged from the elevator, poofy blonde hair bouncing with every step. She wore a black pinstripe skirt suit (with stockings too light for even her pale complexion) and she carried a take-out bag from Panini. Her face bore no sign of the stress it had revealed during our last encounter.

Emboldened by her more welcoming appearance (and by yesterday’s success with Judy), I blurted out my now-standard pick-up line: “You’re Diane, right?” (I hoped my breath didn’t smell like peanut butter from the PBJ sandwich I had just eaten for lunch -- why was I feeling like some awkward adolescent boy trying to talk to the pretty girl?)

She confirmed she was Diane and paused by my desk, but just then the phone rang. The phone literally never rings, but it rings now. I answered it and took care of the call, giving Diane the “sorry this is taking so long” widening of the eyes. When I got off the phone I introduced myself and quickly told her I was going to law school in the fall -- her law school. Her face brightened.

A happy relief washed over me just as it had the previous two times the attorney/receptionist barrier had crumbled (yesterday with Judy and last week with Crazy Hair Barry). Diane talked to me enthusiastically about the school, which she seemed to have loved; she offered tips about housing and extra-curriculars and was nothing short of friendly.

As she left, she told me to call her if I thought of any more questions. I thanked her and said that I would…but I know well enough to quit while I’m ahead.